When did physical exercise go from being an activity beneficial for my health and managing my stress to an obsession creating anxiety and causing me multiple injuries? The day I found myself at the gym running on the treadmill on my way home from the doctor with a prescription for antibiotics in hand for severe bronchitis, I didn’t even wonder if I was acting sane. . The obsession had become part of my identity. I would go running every Saturday and that Saturday would be no exception. It didn’t matter if I had just taken my bronchodilator three times in a row to breathe easier.
Think again: I love to train and move. It is even one of my greatest passions. Long hikes in the forest, bike rides or inline skates, cross-country skiing, hot yoga… all these activities make me happy. However, I would be lying to you to say that I enjoy doing HIIT videos in front of my TV or that I love running on a treadmill. Honestly, I hate it. Deeply. And in the last few months, I have completely stopped working out to get results. I move because it makes me happy. Not to follow a program, burn calories, lose weight, tone my body or look like a crossfit champion. There is nothing in the world more unhealthy for me than this whole world of looks and these intense exercises increased my cortisol level. If I feel like running, I will run, but not to improve my cardio or break a time record. I walk my dog for the happiness of being with her. I do a little yoga to loosen my tensions and breathe deeply.
As much as I believe in the happiness of moving and the well-being that it brings in life, I have also learned that there is a limit to be crossed between the pleasure of doing sport and the feeling of obligation and / or obsession with fitness. Herniated discs, bone degeneration, stewed knees, bursitis and chronic back pain are unfortunately part of my daily life because I did not listen to my body as it cried out for me to rest. I am 30 years old and a body that tortures me every day. I am in constant pain and I blame myself because I should have realized that the quest for a perfect body was only going to bring me miseries.
Do you recognize yourself in the following sentences?
1- If I don’t train today, my day is wasted.
2- If my training is not intense enough, it does not “count” (eg taking a walk).
3- If I don’t train, I can’t afford to eat this or that.
4- If I sit still too long, I obsessively think about the need to move and burn calories.
5- Even sick or injured, I train.
6- I would rather miss social or family events than miss a workout.
7- People make mocking comments about the importance or the time I give to training.
8- I can’t help but read articles, blogs or follow social networks concerning fitness. I compare my body to that of fitgirls .
9- Whatever the training, I am never satisfied, it is never enough (which demoralizes me or leads me to increase the intensity, frequency, etc.).
10- I would have difficulty defining my identity without fitness or sport in my life (absence of other fields of interest).
If many of his statements apply to your life, you should ask yourself whether the training has ceased to bring you benefits and is instead presenting itself as a heavy burden. Taking a break from developing other passions or spending time with your loved ones will bring you great relief. If you continue to train to match unrealistic societal beauty standards, you will eventually develop health problems. We are not machines.
Exercise is essential for health and our sedentary lifestyle can pose a danger to chronic illnesses, but no one said that you have to follow an intense training program! Playing outside, walking with your children, dancing in your living room, gardening, practicing an activity that you really enjoy, that is health! Let’s stop taking ourselves for soldiers in training and find a lightness in the practice of our daily movements! In my opinion, this is the only way to integrate sport in a healthy way into our life.